Vehicle registration plates of Russia

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Russian registration plate, as observed in 2007 -177 stands for Moscow.
Russian registration plate, as observed in 2007 -51 stands for Murmansk Oblast.
Bus with the licence number painted in large letters

Vehicle registration plates are the mandatory number plates used to display the registration mark of a vehicle, and have existed in Russia for many decades. Most motor vehicles which are used on public roads are required by law to display them.

History[edit]

The format of vehicle registration plates in Russia has changed immensely since the collapse of the Soviet Union. License plates in Russia originated 1910s and were not standardized, as there was a small amount of automobiles. In 1932, license plates became standardized for each region and had special numbers representing which region the automobile was from. Soviet plates prior to 1982 were white-on-black. They had combination of four digits, grouped by two and three Cyrillic letters in smaller type. The rear plate was square with letters located below the numbers. From those letters, the first two indicated the region. For example, the combination 75-63 КЛЖ referred to a car from the Kaliningrad Region. After 1982 a new black-on-white format for newly registered cars was adopted. The 1982 format differentiated privately owned from government owned cars and trucks (virtually all vehicles used for business, as all businesses belonged to the government). The government owned vehicles retained the NNNN LLL scheme (the digits were no longer grouped by two and all characters were the same size) and the rear plate was square on trucks and buses/coaches but oblong on passenger cars, while private vehicles used L NNNN LL (with a smaller-sized first letter - for example, c 5969 ME on a van from the Moscow Region) and invariably oblong format. The last two letters indicated regions or large cities. Largest cities usually had several two-letter codes to account for a larger number of cars. For example, the city of Kiev used КИ and ХТ codes while the Kiev Oblast' region (excluding the city itself) used КХ. The use of Cyrillic characters meant that in some cases replacement plates with characters looking like Latin characters had to be temporarily issued to vehicles going abroad.

Current plate format[edit]

Vehicle registration plates for motorcycles
License plate used by police
License plate for diplomatic vehicles
License plate for military vehicles

The current format uses a letter followed by 3 digits and two more letters. To improve legibility of the numbers for Russian cars abroad, only a small subset of Cyrillic characters that look like Latin characters are used (12 letters: А, В, Е, К, М, Н, О, Р, С, Т, У, Х). Finally, the region number (77, 97, 99, 177, 197, 199, and 777 for Moscow, 78, 98, and 178 for Saint Petersburg, etc.) and letters "RUS" are included, as well as the national flag (the flag was not used on some of the earliest plates of this format). There is a different format for trailers (2 letters and 4 digits).

The standard size for the license plate is 520 mm by 110 mm.

Some vehicles, like trolleybuses, are not required to have license plates, because they cannot leave the network they operate on and can be identified by number that is painted and is given by local public transport authority. Trucks and buses generally have their licence numbers repeated in large letters on the rear of the vehicle for easier identification (a practice continued from Soviet days), although they also bear licence plates.[citation needed] Some autonomous regions are not required to have the flag on the licence plates.[citation needed]

Vehicles used by certain organisations or categories of persons carry special plates:

  • Police forces have special numbers on blue colored plates and the format is one letter and four digits. The letter signifies the branch of the police force, and its meaning may change from city to city; for example, in Moscow, A ####|99 rus stands for traffic police, У ####|99 rus for patrol cars, O ####|99 rus for police guard service etc.
  • Diplomatic cars have white characters on a red background. The first three digits on the plate are a code identifying the embassy to which they belong, assigned in order based on the date at which that country established diplomatic relations with Russia or the Soviet Union. For example, the United Kingdom is 001, the United States is 004, and Paraguay is 157. On cars assigned to rank-and-file diplomats this code is followed by D and three digits (for example, 004 D 108|77 rus), while ambassadors' cars have a slightly different license plate format (004 CD 1|77 rus).
  • The Armed Forces have white characters on a black background and the format is NNNN LL for vehicles and LL NNNN for trailers. In this case the two digits on the right are not a regional code but a code for the Armed forces branch or service and go with a certain letter combination. For example, #### CA|14 rus is a vehicle belonging to the Railroad Troops; #### BC|27 rus denotes the Air Defence Force, #### TO|18 rus denotes the Ministry of Emergency Situations etc. Unlike all other categories, number plates of Armed Forces are not light reflective.
  • Public transport vehicles (such as buses, licensed taxis and licensed share taxis) have black characters on a yellow background and the format is LL NNN. Since such vehicles are relatively few, the region code does not change often; in Moscow, for example, yellow "public transport" plates are still issued with the code 77 in December 2009. (Note: This type is not to be confused with similar-looking yellow license plates having the format LL NNN L, which were issued to cars registered to foreign companies operating in Russia; the latter type has now been withdrawn.)

Special plates in the above four categories never carry the Russian flag.

There are special series (usually numbers starting with A) reserved for government officials (for example, A 001 AA usually belongs to the governor of the region). The license plates for federal government officials originally had a larger flag instead of the regional code but this type has now been withdrawn as well.

Rich businessmen, prominent politicians and crime lords often use para-legally acquired special licence plates (government or police) to get preferential treatment from the transport police and as a status symbol. Often, this is used in conjunction with a flashing siren. The Society of Blue Buckets is a protest movement that opposes this trend.[1]

Runout problem[edit]

As per GOST provision, only 1,726,272 combinations may be issued within one administration unit. In certain regions, the amount of vehicles exceeds that number, and the combination may not be reused after a vehicle was taken off the registration. All this creates an issue of running out of numbers.

A short-term solution was introducing more codes for those regions. Thus, some regions have two codes issued to them, Perm Krai and the city of St. Petersburg have three, Krasnoyarsk Krai has four, Moscow Oblast has five, and the federal city of Moscow has seven codes. But this does not fully solve the problem, as the authorities may eventually run out of three-numeral regional codes, and a fourth digit will not fit without changing the standardized layout of the plate.[citation needed]

Introduction of new style license plate is being considered as a future solution.[citation needed]

Regional codes[edit]

Numbers of the license plates of Russia
Code The region of Russian Federation
01 Republic of Adygea
02, 102 Republic of Bashkortostan
03 Republic of Buryatia
04 Altai Republic
05 Republic of Dagestan
06 Republic of Ingushetia
07 Kabardino-Balkar Republic
08 Republic of Kalmykia
09 Karachay–Cherkess Republic
10 Republic of Karelia
11 Komi Republic
12 Mari El Republic
13, 113 Republic of Mordovia
14 Sakha Republic
15 Republic of North Ossetia–Alania
16, 116 Republic of Tatarstan
17 Tuva Republic
18 Udmurt Republic
19 Republic of Khakassia
21, 121 Chuvash Republic
22 Altai Krai
23, 93, 123 Krasnodar Krai
24, 84, 88, 124 Krasnoyarsk Krai
25, 125 Primorsky Krai
26, 126 Stavropol Krai
27 Khabarovsk Krai
28 Amur Oblast
29 Arkhangelsk Oblast
30 Astrakhan Oblast
31 Belgorod Oblast
32 Bryansk Oblast
33 Vladimir Oblast
34, 134 Volgograd Oblast
35 Vologda Oblast
36, 136 Voronezh Oblast
37 Ivanovo Oblast
38, 85, 138 Irkutsk Oblast
39, 91 Kaliningrad Oblast
40 Kaluga Oblast
41, 82 Kamchatka Krai
42, 142 Kemerovo Oblast
43 Kirov Oblast
44 Kostroma Oblast
45 Kurgan Oblast
46 Kursk Oblast
47 Leningrad Oblast
48 Lipetsk Oblast
49 Magadan Oblast
50, 90, 150, 190, 750 Moscow Oblast
51 Murmansk Oblast
52, 152 Nizhny Novgorod Oblast
53 Novgorod Oblast
54, 154 Novosibirsk Oblast
55 Omsk Oblast
56 Orenburg Oblast
57 Oryol Oblast
58 Penza Oblast
59, 81, 159 Perm Krai
60 Pskov Oblast
61, 161 Rostov Oblast
62 Ryazan Oblast
63, 163 Samara Oblast
64, 164 Saratov Oblast
65 Sakhalin Oblast
66, 96, 196 Sverdlovsk Oblast
67 Smolensk Oblast
68 Tambov Oblast
69 Tver Oblast
70 Tomsk Oblast
71 Tula Oblast
72 Tyumen Oblast
73, 173 Ulyanovsk Oblast
74, 174 Chelyabinsk Oblast
75, 80 Zabaykalsky Krai
76 Yaroslavl Oblast
77, 97, 99, 177, 197, 199, 777[2] Moscow
78, 98, 178 St. Petersburg
79 Jewish Autonomous Oblast
82 Republic of Crimea
83 Nenets Autonomous Okrug
86, 186 Khanty–Mansi Autonomous Okrug
87 Chukotka Autonomous Okrug
89 Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug
92 Sevastopol
94 Baikonur
95 Chechen Republic

Codes of diplomatic representative offices and the international organizations on diplomatic license plates[edit]

Diplomatic license plate.JPG
Code Country or Organization
001  United Kingdom
002  Germany
003  Canada
004  United States
005  Japan
006  Spain
007  France
008  Belgium
009  Greece
010  Denmark
011  Italy
012  Luxembourg
013  Netherlands
014  Norway
015  Turkey
016  Australia
017  Austria
018  Algeria
019  Egypt
020  Rwanda
021  Argentina
022  Afghanistan
023  Myanmar
024  Bolivia
025  Brazil
026  Burundi
027  Ghana
028  Bangladesh
029  Guinea
030  Zambia
031  Peru
032  India
033  Indonesia
034  Jordan
035  Iraq
036  Iran
037  Ireland
038  Iceland
039  Cambodia
040  Kenya
041  Cyprus
042  Congo
043  Costa Rica
044  Kuwait
045  Laos
047  Lebanon
048  Libya
049  Mali
050  Morocco
051  Mexico
052    Nepal
053  Nigeria
054  Venezuela
055  New Zealand
056  Pakistan
057  Burkina Faso
058  Senegal
059 N/A1
060  Somalia
061  Sudan
062  Sierra Leone
063  Thailand
064  Tanzania
065  Tunisia
066  Uganda
067  Uruguay
068  Philippines
069  Finland
070  Sri Lanka
071  Chad
072   Switzerland
073  Sweden
074  Ecuador
075  Ethiopia
076  Angola
077  Democratic Republic of Congo
078  Colombia
079  Cameroon
080  Guinea-Bissau
081  Portugal
082  Bulgaria
083  Hungary
084  Vietnam
085 N/A
086  Poland
087  North Korea
088  Cuba
089  Mongolia
090  China
091  Romania
092 N/A2
093  Serbia
094  Benin
095  Gabon
096  Guyana
097  Mauritania
098  Madagascar
099  Malaysia
100  Niger
101  Singapore
102  Togo
103  Central African Republic
104  Jamaica
105  Yemen
106 N/A3
107  Palestine
108  Nicaragua
109  Mozambique
110  Equatorial Guinea
111  Sovereign Military Order of Malta4
112  Malta
113  Cape Verde
114 N/A
115  Zimbabwe
116  United Arab Emirates
117  Ivory Coast
118  Namibia
119 N/A5
120  Oman
121  Qatar
122 N/A6
123 N/A7
124  South Korea
125  Chile
126  Panama8
127  Israel
128  Macedonia9
129  Albania
130 N/A10
131   Vatican City
132  Lithuania
133  Syria
134  Estonia
135  Latvia
136  Bahrain
137  South Africa
138  Armenia
139 N/A11
140  Saudi Arabia
141  Slovenia
142  Uzbekistan
143  Kyrgyzstan
144  Croatia
145  Azerbaijan
146  Ukraine
147  Moldova
148  Czech Republic
149  Slovakia
150  Belarus
151  Tajikistan
152  Turkmenistan
153  Kazakhstan
154  Guatemala
155  Bosnia and Herzegovina
156  Eritrea
157  Paraguay
158  Georgia
159  Brunei
160  Gambia
161  Vietnam
162  Mauritius
163  Dominican Republic
164  Montenegro
165  South Ossetia
166  Abkhazia
167  Djibouti
168  South Sudan
499 European Union Eurocommission
500 European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
501 N/A12
502 N/A13
503  Arab League
504 International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
505 International Monetary Fund
506 International Organization for Migration
507 International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
508 International Committee of the Red Cross
509 International Finance Corporation
510 United Nations United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
511  United Nations
512 UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); code 126 used earlier.
514 International Bank for Economic Complementation
515 International Investment Bank
516 Intersputnik International Organization of Space Communications
517 International Centre of Scientific and Technical Information
518 International Scientific and Technical Centre
520 International Labour Organization
521 Interelectrode International Organization for Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation in Electrical Industry
522 Coordination Centre of the Intergovernmental Commission for Cooperation in Computing Machinery
523 Commonwealth of Independent States Executive Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States
524 European Space Agency
525 Eurasian Patent Organization
526 earlier Taipei-Moscow Coordination Commission for Economic and Cultural Cooperation
527 Commonwealth of Independent States The Headquarters for Coordination of Military Cooperation of the state-participants of the Commonwealth of Independent States
528 Interstate Bank
529 Eurasian Economic Community (earlier - Integration Committee of the Eurasian Economic Community)
530 International Research Institute of Management Problems
531 Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTA)
532 Commonwealth of Independent States Intergovernmental Statistical Committee of the CIS
533 Commonwealth of Independent States Secretary of Council of Interparliamentary Assembly of state-participants of the Commonwealth of Independent States
534 Eurasian Development Bank
535 Commonwealth of Independent States Intergovernmental Foundation for Educational Cooperation of the CIS
900 Honorary consuls and offices headed by them

Notes[edit]

1Code 059 is a former code for Syria. The current code for Syria is 133.

2Code 092 is a former code for Czechoslovakia. Nowadays, codes for Czech Republic and Slovakia are 148 (Czech Republic), and 149 (Slovakia).

3Code 106 is a former code for the Central African Republic. The current code for the Central African Republic is 103.

4Earlier, code 111 belonged to the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance. Replaced by the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

5Code 119 is a former code for South Africa. The current code for South Africa is 137.

6Code 122 is a former code for the Arab League. The current code for the Arab League is 503.

7Code 123 is a former code for Liechtenstein.

8Earlier, code 126 belonged to UNESCO. Replaced by Panama.

9Earlier, code 128 belonged to the European Union. Replaced by Macedonia.

10Code 130 is a former code for the International Organizations.

11Code 139 is a former code for Georgia. The current code Georgia is 158.

12Code 501 is a former code for the Un International Center.

13Code 502 is a former code for the Eurocommision. The current code for this organization is 499.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Elder, Miriam (May 28, 2010). "Moscow's limos halted by blue buckets". The Guardian (London). 
  2. ^ http://platesmania.com/regionstat-777 Statistics of region Moscow City. License plates of Russia, Cars (type 1, 1a)